Reading FC will need to be at their best to beat Saints - BeagrieBy Stan Jackson
April 12, 2012
Peter Beagrie believes tomorrow's game between Southampton and Reading could decide which side will be holding the Championship trophy aloft on April 28th.
The top of the table clash couldn’t be more finely poised with both teams level on 82 points, and Beagrie, formerly of Everton and now a pundit for Sky Sports, believes the tightness in the table will be reflected on the pitch.
“Reading are on a terrific run at the moment and they’re definitely the team in form, but you have to remember that Southampton have only lost two at home all season” says Beagrie.
“Reading will need to be at their best defensively to keep out a Southampton side who are arguably the most creative in the League.”
Beagrie, however, believes that it is possible to keep the Saints out, especially if Royals goalkeeper Adam Federici repeats his heroics of Tuesday night, when Reading managed to overcome Brighton and win 1-0 at the Amex Stadium.
And despite being six points clear of third-placed West Ham United, Beagrie is wary of the dangers that slipping into the play offs can bring.
“Reading will want to go on their holidays knowing that they’re going to the promised land of the Premier League," he said.
"They will want to avoid the play offs like a plague, but Brian McDermott will make sure his team are focussed enough to avoid that.
“There’s a fantastic togetherness in this squad. Brian McDermott has evolved the side fantastically since the disappointment against Swansea, he’s used all his knowledge and know how to bring in some brilliant signings.”
Asked whether or not Reading and Southampton would be able to survive the trials of the Premier League, Beagrie replied: “Neither of them would disgrace themselves, but it’s hard to say.
"Both teams have players that can turn Premier League defences and make them defend facing their own goal, which is important for a side looking to stay up.”
Providing the Royals can keep Saints’ forwards Billy Sharp and rampant hit man Ricky Lambert from finding the net on Friday, Reading fans can look forward to seeing their side take another big step towards promotion.
Southampton v Reading is exclusively live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 7.30pm tomorrow night.